Option B

Moving forward with happiness.

I loved OPTION B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. I commend it to you. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook since 2008, faced her greatest challenge when she fought her way back from devastation after suddenly losing her husband and becoming a single parent. Her carefully tailored and curated life changed overnight. She was accustomed to control – and was suddenly in a void, overwhelmed by loss. Surprisingly, this is NOT a sad book. It is a practical, useful guide to fighting through the tough times. It offers hope that we humans have endless resilience and it offers practical suggestions to meet your own challenges and to help friends and family who are facing tough times.

Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl cried to a friend that she wanted Dave. Her friend replied that Option A is not available. Sheryl still had two children, family and friends and a high-powered job. Her friend promised to help Sheryl “Kick the Sh*t out of Option B.” The remainder of the book is an uplifting account of how Sheryl met her own challenges and how all kinds of people meet and overcome devastating hardships. Through them, we learn just how strong we humans can be.

Adam Grant co-authored Option B. He is Wharton’s top-rated professor and has been for five years. An organizational psychologist, he brings rigor and specific examples to the ideas in Option B.

I listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s first book, Lean In, while I drove up to a gathering of hundreds of women at Harvard Business School. It was hailed as a manifesto for corporate women and challenged us to rely on teams, our partners – but most of all to simply ‘lean in’ to the work. I felt that what was unsaid was the damning judgement that those who did not succeed in corporate America had simply not worked hard enough. While it had some interesting ideas and was well written, overall it seemed naïve. My fellow alumnae shared similar disappointments. It is easier to go back to work two weeks after giving birth when you have an army of nannies next door to your Facebook C-suite office. I listened to Sheryl ‘inspire’ us from the podium while I sat next to a woman with an autistic son who had given up the partnership track at a consulting firm to set up a national support system for other parents dealing with autism. She scoffed that all she needed to do was ‘lean in’. She was at her limit and she was a long way from the C-suite.

Option B, by contrast, is written by an adult. It comes from the heart – by an empathetic grown-up with useful ideas to share. It is a book for anyone facing a challenge – or helping a friend through a tough time.

Option B gets a 4.07 Rating from Good Reads.

Read our earlier and related article on resilience.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, hardcover $15.33.